(Closed) How do you tell a pastor you don't want a religious ceremony?

posted 6 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
65 posts
Worker bee

Are you getting married in a church? I guess if I were a pastor and a couple came to me and said “Please marry us in the church but don’t mention God and don’t pray, please!” I would think it to be a strange, strange request… like, why bother asking in the first place? 

I get wanting to temporarily please your mother, but this just seems odd to me.

Post # 4
1571 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I don’t know that it would be offensive, per se, but I really doubt the pastor would do it. To most people of the Christian faith, the spiritual part of the ceremony is the most important part.

Post # 6
1448 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Depending on the pastor he might be accommodating.  If you don’t want a religious ceremony, don’t have it in the chapel.  I think if you explained the situation your pastor would understand.


Post # 7
3357 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

ask for a non-denominational wedding.

Post # 8
13017 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

He may have a problem with it, honestly.  Asking a pastor to marry you but to ignore the holiest/most fundamental part of what a religious wedding is (inclusion of God, prayer, mass, etc) is a bit offensive, IMO. 

Post # 9
246 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

How well do you know the pastor?  If you know him well and he is a more liberal person, he might be willing to perform your ceremony.  However, that would mean knowing him well enough to be comfortable telling him that you and your fiance are not religious and would prefer a ceremony that does not have a lot of Bible readings.  If you don’t feel that you know him well enough to say that, then don’t ask and get a justice of the peace or other secular officant.



Post # 11
11234 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I agree with the above posters. I think your only option is to find someone to perform a civil ceremony, and your mom can suck it up. Fiance and I are not religious at all. We were pressured to use the pastor who married Future Brother-In-Law and his wife, and I really had to put my foot down and raise my voice so that the topic was no longer up for discussion (we’d already chosen an officiant but had not booked). Future Father-In-Law tried to get Fiance to talk me into a church wedding to make his grandma happy. My grandma wanted us to have the wedding at her church with her pastor. That was a similar situation to yours, actually. I would have been okay with that guy, but not at the church, and then I found out that her church has a new pastor (whom I’ve since met and do not like).

Ultimately, I said that this was OUR wedding, and nothing that we did was going to be done to make someone else happy. That’s not a good way to start off our marriage.

Post # 12
5547 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

Non-denominational and non-religious are totally different. And I am fairly certain a pastor wouldn’t do a non-religious ceremony, it would be fairly counter their entire job. If YOU and your Fiance don’t want a religious ceremony, I wouldnt have a pastor do it to please your family because a pastor is by his nature a religious leader. If you want a secular ceremony, have a secular officiant. 

Post # 14
75 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I’m in the exact same situation – I think it would be hard to not have at least a prayer or reading, so it may be something you could consider compromising on, to appease your family. Otherwise, I’d look into having a different officiant, to get the exact ceremony you want.

We’re getting married by a pastor and asking to focus on our relationship and the values of marriage, instead of religious values – but also expecting to have a short prayer as part of our ceremony.

Post # 15
10573 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

Just be honest with him and explain what it is that you want.  He might decline, or he may be happy to officiate.

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